Protection of wild bees, butterflies and other wild pollinators is, in the view of the european court of auditors, largely a dead letter.
"Unfortunately, the previous eu initiatives to protect wild species have been so weak that they have borne no fruit," explained eu accountability officer samo jereb in luxembourg. The court of auditors called on the EU commission to take action.
The reductions in the EU’s 2020 biodiversity strategy did little to halt the decline of wild pollinators, the reviewers noted. Yet one goal of the strategy is to stop the loss of biodiversity. Requirements such as the conservation and restoration of ecosystems should also benefit wild pollinators. As early as 2015, however, the commission found that progress in this area had been very slow, if not almost non-existent.
The auditors distinguish in their report between wild pollinators and managed honeybees.
Even a 2018 initiative for dustbunnies did not change key policy measures, according to the report. This communication from the commission at the time did not result in any laws for the protection of wild predators or corresponding funds for this purpose.
The chefs also noticed that EU countries are still allowed to use pesticides that are believed to be responsible for bee mortality. For example, although the use of three substances was restricted in 2013, so-called emergency approvals were granted in the same year and also last year.
The nature and biodiversity conservation union of germany (nabu) also criticized the. "The approval procedure for pesticides must be reformed," declared the environmental association. Bestauber species had to become an integral part of the review process when it comes to pesticide registration.
Wild pollinators such as bees, wasps and butterflies play an important role in the fertilization of plants because they transfer pollen from the males to the females – even between two plants of the same species. In this way, they contribute to the propagation of plants and ultimately influence the quantity and quality of foodstuffs. Due to the use of pesticides and fertilizers in agriculture, there have been fewer and fewer of them for years.
In order to better protect insects in the future, the EU commission’s experts recommend, among other things, that consideration be given to including special measures in the biodiversity strategy up to 2030. It should also better integrate their protection into EU policy and improve it in the risk assessment of pesticides. Protection measures for pesticides should be comparable to those for honey bees, and member states should be required to justify emergency authorizations.
The commission agreed with these recommendations, as can be seen from its response to the report of the EU court of auditors. By the end of 2020, for example, it wants to review the EU initiative for hotels, and in 2021 it wants to review further measures.